Tips for New Tablet and E-reader Owners

kindle-254339_640If you were lucky enough to get a new tablet or e-read for the holidays, congratulations! There is so much to do with set up and finding lots of new books to read. To help with those chores, here is a roundup of some of my most popular posts on some of the basics that you may find helpful:

Tips for setting up your new device:

Cases and Covers for your device:

If you are looking for free books:

Setting up and managing your new book collection:

And finally, if you are considering buying yourself and dedicated e-reader with your Christmas Cash:

Have fun playing with your new device!

The first 10 things you should do on your new ereader or tablet

tablet_bowNote: The order in which these are completed may vary from device to device. I was also trying to make sure this advice applied as much as possible to most e-readers, tablets and phones. Therefore, I may have broken some sort of a world’s record for the number of times I use the word device, LOL! Sorry!  🙂

First thing, charge the device. The device probably comes partially charged. Is a good idea to make sure it has a full charge before you start any kind of heavy use. You can usually still use the device for setup and personalization while it’s plugged in and charging.

Read/watch the tutorial. If this is a new device, go through the tutorial and familiarize yourself with the device.  Kindles, for example, generally only show the tutorial the first time you boot up the e-reader. Other devices, like Samsung tablets, allow you to choose whether or not to show the tutorial again. Watching the tutorial helps to familiarize yourself with how the device works. If this is an upgrade from a previous model, this will clue you in to what you need to know to understand the changes.

Set up the Wi-Fi (and the cellular service). Generally, Wi-Fi controls are found under settings. Most devices will scan for available Wi-Fi networks, ask you to choose a network and then ask you to enter your password. If your device uses GSM, you will need to insert the Sim card  and then follow your carrier’s instructions to activate it.

Don’t skip the update!  The first thing many devices do is to perform a software update. Don’t skip this step! Your device will run much more smoothly and securely with the latest software version installed.

Set up your accounts. Most of today’s devices are personal and designed for one person’s private use. Whether it’s a phone,  a Kindle, a Chromebook or an iPad, setting up your account is crucial. It personalizes your device and auto fills most of your profile information. Essentially, it does most of the hard work for you. If you have a device which allows you to set up family or multiple profiles, it is easiest to add them right at the beginning. Remember, if you have accounts with services such as Amazon, iTunes, or Google play, all your content is tied to your account. By setting up your account on the new device, you authorize all your content to be available for the new device.

Personalize. Every device has a settings and or preferences section. Here, you can personalize and send aspects of the device to your personal preferences. These settings can include basics such as setting how the clock displays, choosing a time zone, or changing the colors and setting your home screen. There are also advanced settings where you can manage preferences such as passwords, parental controls, languages, dictionaries and connects social media accounts.

Download and re-load. Depending on the device, you may find content already waiting for you. Kindles and Fire tablets allow you to send purchased content to the device before it is even delivered. If you already own content, you can find your previously purchased content in the cloud, waiting to be downloaded. Some tablet manufacturers (such as Samsung and Apple) will install everything from your old device onto a new one from a recent backup.

Get yourself a cover! Do yourself a favor and get some sort of a skin, cover or case for your device. Accidents happen and you want to protect your investment. There is a wide variety of accessories available, making it easy to find something you like at a reasonable price.

Play with it! The best way to familiarize yourself with a new piece of technology used to use it! Allow yourself some time to play with the device to learn how it works and get comfortable with it. Try to use the device under low stress situations until you’re used to it. You’ll learn more and have a lot more fun.

Keep it plugged in! I know. You were told that this blank had an incredible battery life, right? So, why am I telling you to keep it plugged in? Most electronics batteries perform better after several charges. In the case of Kindles, the e-reader actually reads every book you put on the device. This process is called indexing. It allows the Kindle to search for a particular word or phrase. This process occurs every time you add a book to the Kindle, even ones that use sideload manually. The indexing process uses a lot of battery power and if you’re adding a lot of books or adding them on a regular basis, for best performance, keep the battery plugged in.

Any questions, leave it in the comments and I will try to help. 🙂

You can more resources for new e-readers and tablets on the New e-reader? Start Here page.

Managing your Google Play Books Library

Screenshot_2014-08-04-20-02-16Here’s a nice tutorial with screenshots from the folks at Android Central on how to manage your Google Play Books library on your Android device.

The article shows two methods for removing books: one from the Play Books home screen and the other for removing from “My Library.”

Note that this article refers to removing books from your phone or your tablet. The procedure is slightly different for the web version of the Play bookstore.

 

 

Daily Links: Open Road launches series for controversial books

From Publishers Weekly: Open Road launches series for controversial books

From the eBookReader.com: Kobo Website formatting tip on how to identify ePub types

From Teleread: Opening Nook books in Adobe Digital Editions

From Vox (via the Digital Reader): 7 Things the most-highlighted passages from Kindles tell us

From the Digital Reader: Missing in Action: The Kindle Paperwhite 3

Today, Amazon has a Refurbished Kindle Fire HD 8.9 with 4G LTE  as the Bonus Deal of the Day. It is $199 for the 32GB version.This is the older version with the micro-HDMI port and the 4G coverage is set up for AT & T coverage.

Daily Links are interesting links I discover as I go about my online day. The frequency and number of links posted depend upon the daily news.

Did You Know: Quick Fix for a Frozen Screen

Here’s a quick fix for when your Kindle is running slow or freezes entirely:

  • Press (or slide) the power button and HOLD for 20 seconds.
  • After 20 seconds, release the power button.  (On the Kindle Fire, press the power button again.)
  • The Kindle start up screen will appear shortly.

Here are more troubleshooting tips,  with pictures, including a nifty timer to count down the seconds to hold down your power button. 🙂

 

New Category: Did You Know?

question markI get asked a lot for tips and tricks and how-to information, so I thought I would add a category where I could post small bits of information that wouldn’t normally be substantial or long enough for a traditional blog entry.

So, to start:

Did you know that your Kindle reads every book and document you put on it? It does this so that it can index every word and make them searchable. It does this even if you add the books yourself (a process called sideloading). The indexing process can take a while, especially if you add a large number of books. It really drains the battery, making it very important to keep your e-reader plugged in when you have just added new books. So don’t fill your e-reader right before a cruise or a long flight – otherwise, your battery may let you down. 😦

Managing Your Free Kindle Books, Part Two: Choosing Wisely and Pre-Organizing

This is the second in a three-part series. Part One is here. Most of the information in this series of posts is specific to the Kindle line of e-readers  and the Amazon bookstore.

In Part One, we looked at an overview of some of the problems that can be caused by having too many books on your Kindle or Kindle Fire. The same is true of the Kindle for PC app for your computer or mobile device. While this is just as true for paid books as it is for free ones, the nature of free tends to tempt us to overload our Kindles.

It is also interesting to note that even if a Kindle is not actually malfunctioning due to too many books (freezing, inability to download or highlight,etc.), many people find that as they get more and more books on their Kindles, the device runs much more slowly (slower page turns, slower search, etc.).

So how do we deal with this? The answer is not to avoid free books! There are some great bargains in the free offerings and I have discovered some tremendously gifted authors through their free books, authors such as Hugh Howey, Keith C. Blackmore,and many others.

What we can do is choose more wisely what books to put on our Kindle.  Why is this important? Because the best way to organize is not to put books (paid or free) on the Kindle in the first place that you are ultimately not going to read.  Think of it as pre-organizing and a way cut down on the Kindle clutter.

Keep lists of the books you want to read:  This is as simple and as old-fashioned as it gets. Write down the name of the title and the author. You can make this as low tech (pen and paper) or as high-tech (MS Word, Evernote or even Notepad for the Kindle) as you are comfortable with. Personally, I use Evernote and have a TBR note where I jot down the title and author, a link to a buy page or the review that first caught my eye. That way, I don’t forget about the book, but don’t have to download the sample to remember it. I can then check the book out at my leisure.

Recommendations:  Nowadays, the free books offered on any given day normally number in the hundreds. There are a lot of websites that list free books (EreaderIQ, Kindle Nation Daily, Books on the Knob, Pixel of Ink and many, many others). An internet search for free Kindle books will bring up pages of blogs and curated lists that can help you find books that interest you. Most of these sites give you the ability to search for books in certain categories and genres. Amazon lists the top 100 sellers, both free and paid.

Don’t have time to search through hundreds of free books to find what you like? There are also a lot of places you can get recommendations for free books without having  to sort through the listings. Most genre groups on social networking sites like GoodReads and Shelfari have a place on the message boards that is dedicated to free books of that particular genre.  And if you are looking for a particular author, check their blog, website or Twitter account: Most authors who offer their books for free on the Kindle let their fans know.

Read the reviews:  This is especially important for people who like to find books, then wait to find them free. Good, honest reviews can help you make a decision about whether to download a book or not. Yet, given some of the recent controversies over fake and purchased reviews, it can be difficult to know whether to trust them or not. If you are unsure, click on the reviewer’s name and check out the other ones that they have written.  Look for warning signs: all reviews for the same author, all five-star reviews, or if tis is the only item the person has ever reviewed. Ultimately, remember that reviews are simply the opinion of the person writing the review.

Read the samples: Often, reading the sample of the book can give you a clearer idea about whether you will like the book or not. Do you like the writer’s style and syntax? Are there grammar and spelling errors? The sample can give you an actual feel for the book.

With free books, however, you do not have the opportunity to send a sample to your Kindle or your app.  However, you can still read the sample on your computer by clicking on the Look Inside feature. And, using the feature means that’s one less sample cluttering up your Kindle. Here what it looks like for the The Man Cave Cookbook, which is free periodically.

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Sometimes, however, samples can cause as many problems as they solve. Some people have pages and pages of samples on their Kindles. Those samples take up space and memory and must be indexed, just like books. In other words, too many samples can cause the same problems as too many actual books!

Fortunately, there are several ways to help organize your samples.  One method is to send all your samples to one place. That can be your Kindle app on your computer or phone. That way, you can read a sample when you have a spare moment to read, but not enough time to get immersed in an entire book. If you have more than one Kindle, you can designate one for all your samples.

If you want to keep your Kindle totally uncluttered by samples,  you can send them to the Cloud Reader instead of your Kindle. As seen in the picture below, samples on the Cloud Reader show their covers, which can give you a visual jog to help you remember the book.

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In Part Three, we will discuss organizing your TBR pile, including more ways to organize books you haven’t even downloaded yet. Note: Due to a family emergency, part 3 was never written.